America’s drunk shopping habit at $44.9 billion

Are we making poor purchasing decisions after drinking?

Updated

Fact checked
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Does drinking lead to spending?

For some 58.4 million Americans, a hangover is no longer the only thing they may wake up to after a night of drinking. Perhaps you’ll find some new shoes in your closet or even a new car in your driveway. This may leave you to wonder – has my bank account and alcohol teamed up against me?

According to Finder’s latest Drunk Shopping survey conducted in February 2020, nearly a quarter (22.9%) of Americans admit to shopping under the influence. Although the percentage of Americans that admitted to buying under the influence decreased from 26.4% to 22.9% over the past year, the amount consumers are spending increased by 13.9%. The average drunk shopper is spending an average of $768.58 on drunk purchases this year, compared to $674.96 in 2019.

Collectively, Americans spent $44.9 billion on drunk purchases in the past 12 months, down from last year’s $45.3 billion.

YearPercentage
2017$206.00
2018$447.57
2019$674.96
2020$768.58

Boozing by the numbers

• 69.7% of Americans drink at least one alcoholic beverage per week
• On average, American drinkers consume 8 alcoholic drinks per week
• The most commonly consumed alcoholic beverage by men is beer, with 63.7% of men drinking at least one beer a week, compared to women who tend to favor wine, with 46.2% of women having at least one glass per week
• Millennials and Gen X are consuming the largest amount of alcoholic beverages weekly, both consuming an average of 8.85 drinks per week
• Americans on average spend the most per glass of wine ($11.86) and the least on a can of beer ($7.57)

What are we buying?

For those of you who have ever made a late night call to Domino’s after cracking open a few brewskis, it will come as no surprise that food is our most common drunk purchase. Nearly 60% of Americans admit to purchasing food while drunk, followed by more alcohol at 51.7% and shoes, clothes or accessories at 36.9%.

CategoryEveryoneFemaleMale
Shoes, clothes, or accessories36.9%20.2%45.4%
Gambling20.9%23.5%17.4%
Cigarettes27.7%28.6%26.4%
DVD, movies, or streaming service16.3%17.5%14.6%
Tech products6.6%8.1%$4.5%
Narcotics and other drugs6.6%6.8%6.2%
Music15.1%15.4%14.6%
Artwork1.7%1.7%1.7%
Vacation7.3%5.1%10.1%
Pet3.2%3%3.4%
Furniture3.2%1.7%5.1%
Car2.7%2.4%1.7%
Food58.3%54.7%44.4%
More alcohol51.7%57.3%44.4%
Other (please specify)2.9%2.1%3.9%

When looking at total dollar amount spent, Americans spent the most on car related purchases ($731.32), followed by vacations ($705.71) and gambling ($420.18).

CategoryEveryoneFemaleMale
Shoes, clothes, or accessories$148.13$146.65$149.70
Gambling$420.18$350.67$464.59
Cigarettes$124.99$95.50$145.04
DVD, movies, or streaming service$45.98$46.61$45.45
Tech products$204.99$205.12$204.91
Narcotics and other drugs$247.77$205.12$204.91
Music$34.20$35.90$32.69
Artwork$94.64$90.92$97.96
Vacation$705.71$840.02$470.66
Pet$136.85$177.68$104.19
Furniture$402.72$290.71$570.72
Car$731.32$981.88$508.59
Food$324.84$365.95$287.83
More alcohol$222.32$148.14$272.44
Other (please specify)$126.61$38.54$170.64

Gender

Just over a quarter (26.9%) of men admit to drunk shopping. The top purchase for men under the influence is more alcohol (57.3%), followed by food (54.7%), and shoes, clothes, or accessories (30.3%).

Less women (19.1%) admitted to drunk shopping than men, spending an average of $799.61 on their purchases during the past year. The top drunk purchase among women was food (62.9%), with shoes, clothes, or accessories coming in second (45.5%), and more alcohol in a close third (44.4%).

Generation

On par with last year’s trend, Millennials were the generation most prone to drunk shopping (42.1%). Following Millennials was Gen Z (35.4%), Gen X (22.2%) and Baby Boomers (10.1%).

GenerationPercentage
Gen Z35.4%
Millennial42.1%
Gen X22.2%
Baby Boomers10.4%

Similarly, Millennials also spent the most on drunk purchases, coughing up an average of $879.71 compared to last year’s average of $847.41. Following Millennials is Gen X ($797.49), Gen Z ($650.48), and Baby Boomers ($486.98).

GenerationAmount
Gen Z$650.48
Millennial$879.71
Gen X$797.49
Baby Boomers$486.98

Where are we drunk shopping?

The Northeast showed the highest percentage of drunk shoppers at 25.82% while also boasting the highest average spend at $1,195.13. This was followed by the Midwest at 23.54%, the West at 23.50% and the South coming in at 20.32%

RegionPercentage
Northeast25.8%
Midwest23.5%
South20.3%
West23.5%

Breaking it down by state, our research finds that residents of Washington State spend the most on drunk purchases at $2,199.96. Massachusetts comes in second at $1,703.14, with New York closely following at $1,652.4. The state that spends the least while drunk shopping is North Dakota at $99.60.

  • Past drunk shopping surveys

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        Allan Givens
        Public Relations Manager
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        allan.givens@finder.com
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        Nicole Gallina
        Communications Coordinator
        347-677-4931
        nicole.gallina@finder.com
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